Assembly adapts to help prevent spread of COVID-19


STATE HOUSE – The General Assembly has taken a number of temporary preventative steps to inhibit the spread of COVID-19 during the pandemic.

Access to the Senate and House chambers and lounges will be limited. In the House, the chamber floor and the House lounge will be restricted to House members, staff, pages and the media at all times until further notice. The Senate will have similar restrictions to the chamber and lounge before, during and after session until further notice. One exception: the lounges will be open when used for committee hearings. The public galleries will continue to be accessible.

Please note that interested individuals can always watch the daily proceedings of both chambers on Capitol Television, which can be seen on Cox on Channels 15 and 61, in high definition on Cox Channel 1013, on Full Channel on Channel 15 and on Channel 34 by Verizon subscribers. Both sessions are live streamed at

Committee hearings will continue. Seating in the committee rooms has been rearranged to increase personal space and decrease the need to be in close contact, and chairpersons have been asked to delay scheduling hearings on issues that traditionally draw large crowds. Additionally, members of the public are encouraged to submit written testimony on bills, which is distributed to all committee members, and it becomes part of the public record on the bill.  Written testimony for all Senate hearings can be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. In the House, all hearing postings include a clerk’s email address that can be used for submitting written testimony.

Both chambers have canceled their annual celebrations of St. Patrick’s Day and St. Joseph’s Day next week, as well as the Greek Independence Day celebration that was scheduled March 26.

The chambers will be unavailable to outside groups, including mock sessions and other educational gatherings. In consultation with the Secretary of State’s office, all school tours and mock sessions have been suspended. Every effort will be made to reschedule them later in the school year if possible.

Assembly leadership will continue to assess the situation on an ongoing basis with the governor’s office and the Department of Health.

“We are very grateful to Governor Raimondo, Director Alexander-Scott and the team at the Department of Health for their outstanding leadership and communication with us and with Rhode Islanders as we all seek to do our part during this pandemic. We will continue to look to them for guidance, and will take every necessary action to assist them and to protect the public health,” said President of the Senate Dominick J. Ruggerio.

Said House Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello, “We are taking every precaution to keep the public, legislators and staff healthy and safe. Obviously this is an evolving situation and we will continue to communicate with each other and the public. We are in continuous contact with the Department of Health and they have given us the clearance to continue holding our sessions at this time.”


For an electronic version of this and all press releases published by the Legislative Press and Public Information Bureau, please visit our website at